[In the news]Mining as big ticket industry to save our poor – FROM A DISTANCE By Carmen N. Pedrosa | The Philippine Star News Opinion

Mining as big ticket industry to save our poor – FROM A DISTANCE By Carmen N. Pedrosa | The Philippine Star News Opinion.

FROM A DISTANCE By Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star)

There are several sides in the mining controversy following the landslide that killed more than a dozen people in Pantukan town, Compostela Valley. The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE) and Bantay Kalikasan is one. It immediately blamed large-scale mining although the disaster involved its opposite  small mining or mining by poor people with picks and shovels. This line of attack is similar to the Ortega murder when his murder was blamed for his broadcasts against mining in Palawan. Ortega is a broadcaster, a journalist, who, true to his calling, took up a number of advocacies, mining being one of them. He was also against graft.

The initial findings of Ortega’s alleged murder leads to his crusade against local officials whom he accused of graft. The graft comes from the misuse of funds from the share of local authorities from Malampaya, the oil and gas being piped into the city by its owners Shell and the Lopez-owned First Philippine Holdings. (It is the same First Philippine Holdings that has been sued by condominium owners of West Tower where a leaking oil pipe was found). We will never hear of this from Bantay Kalikasan even if oil exploration is mining and is equally a source of environmental degradation. Gasoline and oil coming from mined fossil fuels run electricity, cars and most industries.

I am all for guarding our environment and the judicious use of our natural resources, but any campaign against mining should be fair and applied equally. Groups that want mining banned are being hypocritical because almost all that we use in our daily lives come from metals and minerals whether cars, computers, medical instruments and houses.

Allied with the Bantay Kalikasan are sectors of the Catholic church with one bishop calling for a moratorium on mining until “an efficient monitoring is in place”. One of the injured miners asked the bishop “whether he could also put a moratorium on his family’s hunger.” Living in those outlying god-forsaken areas without roads or other amenities have made the poor living there turn to small mining for their livelihood. The Filipino saying “kapit sa patalim” best describes their predicament.

Read full article @ Philstar.com (link above)

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